How to Adjust Electric Scooter Drum Brakes? Step-by-Step Guide

adjusting electric scooter drum brakes with a wrench

A drum brake is quite a popular electric scooter brake type. They are relatively cheap and provide reasonable stopping power.

One of my electric scooters (NIU KQi2 Pro) is equipped with a mechanical drum brake at the front and an electronic brake at the rear.

Overall, it’s a really good commuter scooter but lately, I have noticed that the brakes are not as good as they used to be. It’s not because the scooter has bad brakes but the brakes just need some adjusting.

In this blog post, I will show how to easily adjust electric scooter drum brakes and significantly improve the stopping power. It’s really easy and takes just a couple of minutes.

When Do E-Scooter Drum Brakes Need Adjusting?

electric scooter brake lever (wrong and correct)
There should be a width of at least one finger between the brake handle and the grip.

First of all, if you notice the braking distance has increased, you should check the brakes. Here are two things to check on:

  • Is it possible to push the brake handle against the grip?
  • Is the brake cable next to the wheel a bit loose?

Either way, you should tighten the cable to improve the braking power.

How to Tighten the Brake Cable of E-Scooter Drum Brakes?

Tools needed:

  • Wrench
  • Bench to elevate the scooter (optional)

Step 0: Elevate the Scooter

electric scooter on a box

This step is optional. You can get the brakes tightened without elevating the scooter. However, the process is much more simple if the scooter is not on its wheels and it isn’t moving.

Step 1: Loosen the Nut

using wrench to open a nut

To be able to tighten the braking cable, you have to loosen the nut that’s holding it. You can do that using the correct-sized wrench. If you don’t have a wrench, pliers should also work.

Don’t undo the nut completely. Just 1-2 rounds so you can freely move the cable.

Step 2: Tighten the Cable

tightening the drum brake cable with fingers

If the nut is loose, hold the drum brake arm with one hand and pull the cable with another hand. Simply said, you are making the cable shorter.

Step 3: Close the Nut

closing the nut with a wrench

Use the wrench and tighten the nut that is holding the brake cable.

Step 4: Check If the Wheel Rotates Freely

This step is much easier if the scooter is elevated from the ground. If not, ask someone to lift the wheel up a little.

Use your hand and spin the wheel. Check if there is no rubbing noise. If not, you are good to go. However, if you hear some rubbing, it means the cable is too tight and you need to readjust.

Step 5: Readjust If Needed

For readjusting the cable, repeat steps 1-3. Only instead of tightening the cable, loosen the cable as little as possible. You don’t want to make it too loose as it was in the first place.

After closing the nut, spin the wheel again. There should be no rubbing noise.

Step 6: Repeat All Previous Steps With Another Wheel

If your e-scooter has drum brakes on both wheels, repeat all previous steps on another wheel as well.

Step 7: Check the Brake Lever

Press the brake lever and check how far can you press it. You should not press it against the grip anymore. There should be a width of one finger between the brake handle and the grip.

Step 8: Test the Brakes

Now, the adjustment of the drum brake is finished. But before heading into real traffic, test the brakes on an empty street.

First, test brakes at a slow speed. Then speed up to your regular speed, and press the brakes. Most probably, the stopping distance is much shorter than it was before.

As shown in the video below, I managed to shorten the stopping distance by about 50%, which is pretty impressive.

Congratulations, you have adjusted the drum brakes of your electric scooter on your own!


It’s fairly easy to adjust electric scooter drum brakes on your own. You just need a proper-sized wrench.

If you follow the steps provided in this article, the process of adjusting the drum brakes should take just 5 minutes.

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